Since we will all experience the sunset years, one time or another, it is good to learn something from this study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in U.K. while we are on that journey.
Not that we will all suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is the common cause of dementia, an impairment of thinking and memory that interferes with a person’s ability to do things which he or she previously was able to do, and is particularly common in older people, but there is nothing like being informed and forewarned.
This study involved 1,658 adults aged 65 years, who at the start were able to walk and were free from dementia and other health problems. Their existence were followed and monitored for about six years.
By that time, it was found out that 171 participants had developed dementia and 102 had Alzheimer’s disease.
Those who were moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53 per cent increased risk of developing dementia of any kind. Those who were severely deficient saw their risk increase to 125 per cent over those with adequate levels of vitamin D.
Similar numbers were noted for Alzheimer’s disease: those who were moderately deficient were 69 per cent more likely to develop this type of dementia, and the severely deficient were 122 per cent more likely to get Alzheimer’s.
“We expected to find an association between low vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising – we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated,” said lead researcher, Dr. David Llewellyn.
Dementia is a major health issue. Around 44 million people worldwide have dementia and the number is expected to triple by 2050. About one billion people in the world have low vitamin D levels.
Salmon, tuna, beef liver and egg yolks contain small amounts of vitamin D, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
“Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” said Dr. Llewellyn.